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Ad gentes in the Marist Hospital Units of Curitiba

Cmi

30/11/2010: Brazil

15 October was a first for me and for Mme Rosana Alves. We had to give a brief presentation of the Ad gentes project to the doctors, nurses, and administration personnel of the Marist Hospital Units of Curitiba. Four hospital units were involved, all connected to the Marist University of the city: the two hospitals of Santa Casa de Misericórdia (Caridade and Santa Lucia), the Cajuru University hospital and the « Maternidade Alto Maracanã » hospital. We also spent a half hour with the administration personnel of the hospital units, on the second floor of our University.In each of the units we presented very briefly the fundamental elements of Marist spirituality and the main lines of the Ad gentes project. Dr.Vanessa Ruthes spoke very kindly of a « historic visit in our hospital units which has fostered a new vigour in living our mission! » It was historic, not because of the time spent in each unit – necessarily brief – but because it was the first time that the representatives of the staff of these institutions had encountered the spirituality/mission ad gentes.Apart from what we were able to say and share in a simple and accessible way, we were impressed by four aspects we observed:• The Marist presence in each of the units. One sees almost everywhere statues of the Good Mother and Saint Marcellin Champagnat. They were not decorative elements, but corresponded to an experience and knowledge of the simplest elements of Marist spirituality. There is, so to speak, a « Marist atmosphere » in these hospital milieux. All these establishments represent and respond to a Christian and Evangelical of life.• The high professional spirit evident in each of the hospitals; it could be seen in the quality of personal approach, in the scientific competence present in the different units; in the humanity of the services each of the collaborators – from the most qualified to the most simple – developed in relationship to the patient.• The willingness to respond still more efficiently, in quality as well as quantity, to the health needs of the local populations. It was evident not only in the physical improvement of the buildings, but also in the construction of a new hospital unit « Hospital Marcelino Champagnat » which should be ready in a year. The framework of this future hospital shows the scope and capacity for response which the Church, through the Marist Institute, is realizing in the area of health.• I was especially struck by the pastoral work and spiritual assistance for the benefit of the sick in all the units. And in this pastoral work, the Marist dimension is not overlooked. An excellent proof can be found in the review published by the «Marist pastoral sector» (24 pages) in view of the 1st «Humanização – Aliança Saúde» Congress, under the title « Espiritualidade na Saúde sob o olhar marista» (Spirituality in Health from the Marist point of view). This is a text drawn up by Brother Frederico Unterberger, and we congratulate him on the high quality of the publication, as much on the presentation as on the contents.Being more used to the Marist academic world linked with education, we found this Marist presence in the world of health a surprise. Although it does not form part of our specific charism, we see it is not impossible for the world of health to also enter into Champagnat’s charism. What we discovered in Curitiba is « proof most evident » of this reality. We know that more modest health units exist in other Provinces. In fact, they respond to a dimension of our apostolate mentioned in Chap. 4 of Water from the Rock: « … to restore sight to the blind » (Lk 4:18).In return, Mme Rosana Alves, recently returned from her Ad gentes experience, and I did not offer them much. Despite this, we touched on three important topics which pleased our audiences:• The expression « new land » and mission Ad gentes• The feminine presence in the Ad gentes project• The profile of the Marist missionary (brother and lay person) for the XXI century._____________Curitiba, 18 October 2010Br. Teófilo Minga and Rosana Alves

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